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UNSEEN 2023 – Galleries at UNSEEN fair – Part 3 (images 23-36)


Contour Gallery Rotterdam – Nele van Canneyt (1973 Belgium) (images 23 )

Nele van Canneyt is drawn to objects and scenes in the serenity of the city at the end of the day and the dawn of night, when everything seems to stand still, and the city takes on its own story. All while a dialogue between the playfulness and conceptual work of the three artists sits in the spotlight, their signature techniques, and ways of experimenting with the medium lets audiences’ imagination lead the way.  With a career spanning over two decades, Nele van Canneyt has cultivated a unique artistic vision that pushes boundaries and that has been gaining the hearts and praise of her home country Belgium. With a portfolio that includes solo exhibitions such as “Worlds Inside, Outside” (2010), “Common Ground” (2020), Nele’s most recent exhibition “Binnenland” (2021) in the Museum of Bruges (Belgium), displayed photos captured during the covid pandemic solitude in Belgium.

Contour Gallery Rotterdam – Le Nghi Teng (1976 Vietnam / The Netherlands) (images 24 )

Le Nghi’s latest work White cloud, 白云, (2023) contemplates the intuitive and spontaneous capture of the environment, embarking on a quest through the landscape with no staging or premeditation. Alongside this innovative approach, Le Nghi incorporates her background in Chinese culture and tradition into her new series. The crane, a symbol of happiness and associated with the notions of longevity and peace in Chinese beliefs, serves as the conduit between heaven and earth. Le Nghi’s photographic creations evoke images of a white cloud. This metaphor of the white cloud, drifting and detached from the modern world of sounds, translates visually into moments of stillness and serenity, serving as a poignant reminder of the transience and impermanence of all things.

Contour Gallery
Josephstraat 164
3014 TX Rotterdam
The Netherlands


Echo Fine Arts – French Riviera – JAN C. SCHLEGEL (1965 Germany) (images 25 )

Fascinated by photography since the age of 14, Jan C. Schlegel has sharpened his style and technique both in-camera and in the darkroom under the mentorship of Walter Schels and Toni Schneiders. Applying the same principles to all living entities, Schlegel has famously portrayed humans from all parts of the world, yet also set his eye on creatures foreign to our understanding: tiny insects, sea creatures, reptiles.

During Covid, Schlegel developed an interest for flowers with the wish to magnify their ephemeral beauty, like a memento mori. Here, he chose the Tragopogon pratensis, commonly unnoticed along gravel roads, and also nicknamed “Jack Go to Bed at Noon” because it blooms in the early morning sun but shies away after midday. Its impressive seedhead is often blown onto in the hope to see one’s wishes come true. Using a very thin transparent paper, he extended the life of the fragile flower for eternity by using the most archival printing technique: platinum, to which he added white gold to highlight the value of nature in its most simple form.

Echo Fine Arts – French Riviera – CECILIA PAREDES (1950 Peru) (images 26 )

Multidisciplinary artist in essence, Cecilia Paredes uses her body as a performative vessel merging painting, sculpture and photography. While she initially appears as the main subject in each of her “photo performance”, her work explores a wide range of themes such as exile, integration, connection to nature, as well as biocentrism. Playing an active role in the narration, the background of her compositions is often made of patterns borrowed from tapestry or wallpapers filling the entire frame including her body. Her identity, hence camouflaged in the backdrop, is distilled to a quintessentially feminine shape inviting the viewer to ponder the ways in which individuals are informed by their natural and cultural environments. Additionally, the omnipresence of vegetal or animal design depicts an ideal world where humanity blends in rather than dominates.

Echo Fine Arts – French Riviera – BAS MEEUWS (1974 The Netherlands) (images 27 )

Born in the Netherlands in 1974, Bas Meeuws’ work breathes new life to the XVIIth century Dutch and Flemish still life genre. Using photography as a base, he draws on his catalogue of over 13,000 species to create artworks in the line of Ambrosius Bosschaert (1573-1621) or Jan Davidsz de Heem (1606-1684). Demonstrating the same descriptive precision, he orchestrates an extraordinary diversity of flowers, here and there enlivened by insects or gastropods. The neutral background added to the dramatic chiaroscuro creates a focus on the foreground where movement seems to be gushing all around. Each look at the artwork unveils a detail precedently unnoticed, hence creating a constantly renewed image. This tamed vision of nature however only abides by its own rules for it displays a mix of flowers which have different blooming times without any concern for scale. Additionally, Meeuws differentiates himself from his predecessors by adding what we consider today as bad seeds or ordinary grass. Indeed, his goal is to remind us of the transience and frailty of life as well as to awaken a broader sense of respect towards everything nature has to offer.

Echo Fine Arts – French Riviera – JEFF ROBB (1965 UK) (images 28 )

Since graduating with Distinction from the Royal College of Art in 1992 with a Masters degree in Fine Art Holography, Robb has continually made art, ceaselessly experimenting with three-dimensional imaging. Shortly after the end of academic studies, he was invited to submit a landscape work to the V&A museum’s permanent collection; this would be the first ever hologram artwork to be acquired by the museum. Today, Jeff Robb is recognized as the leading figure-head of lenticular photographic fine art.

For Unseen, Jeff Robb has created a brand new series entitled Quotidian Objects. This photographic exercise aims at recreating the essence of masters such as Van Weenix (1640-1719) and Jan van Huysum (1682 – 1749) in the medium of lenticular print. Robb enlisted the help of professional florists Augustus Bloom and Gail Smith – who creates floral arrangements for the National Gallery. Incorporating as many flower types as were available at the time (March) and using large scale prints of the original paintings as reference Robb set to work in the studio, Robb offers a contemporary perspective of this classic painting theme.

Echo Fine Arts
The gallery operates online
French Riviera, France


Galerie Écho 119 Paris – Dana Cojbuc (1979 Rumania /France) (images 29 )

Dana Cojbuc mixes photography and drawing, investing the captured reality of her dreams and imagination with what ‘grows’ outside photography. This is how the Yggdrasil series, named after the world-tree of Norwegian mythology, was created on the small Norwegian island of Halsnoy.

For Dana, drawing is a way of reintroducing the secret part of reality that nourishes its growth, its palpitation, its escape from defined carcans. This is also the artist’s intention: to give organic contours back to nature, which cannot be constrained by the perfect geometric form imposed by the camera.

An image or a landscape will only become ours when we have placed in it an intimate and secret part of ourselves – fragments of a dream or a wave of the imagination – when a memory is attached to it or when our desires come to invest it. Each work is original and unique.

Dana Cojbuc was born in Romania in 1979. She graduated in Fine Arts in Bucharest and in Communications at the University of Athens. She now lives and works mainly in Paris, although her photographic research has taken her all over Europe thanks to grants and residencies.

She has produced three series to date: Contes d’Hiver, Yggdrasil and Ouvrir le Rivage, and self-published her first photographic book Yggdrasil in 2022. Dana Cojbuc is the 2022 winner of the Tremplin Jeunes Talents jury prize at the Planches Contact festival in Deauville, and the 2022 winner of the Bourse du talent de la BNF (Bibliothèque Nationale de France), in the landscape section.

Galerie Écho 119 Paris – Sakiko Nomura (1967 Japan) (images 30 )

Sakiko Nomura creates her images in the shadows. Photographing her models in places as bare as their bodies, intimacy is at the heart of her work. Her images evoke the hushed atmosphere of rooms that we recognise without having visited them, the rustle of sheets, the rustle of a curtain that is opened to let in a ray of light. Nomura was Araki Nobuyoshi’s most important assistant, and although her work, like his, deals with the themes of eros and thanatos, her vision and approach are definitely different. Combining and mixing places and times, embracing the photographic and silver accident, Nomura creates stories that reinvent themselves through the viewer’s imagination.

She says little about herself, her practice or her images. She believes in the power of photography as one believes in something mysterious and powerful, something difficult to understand, let alone grasp in words. Nomura’s photographs speak for themselves. They don’t ‘say’, they make us ‘feel’.

Sakiko Nomura is a Japanese photographer born in Shimonoseki in 1967. After graduating from Kyushu Sangyo University in 1991, Nomura trained with the master of Japanese photography Nobuyoshi Araki. After her first exhibition, Uhr ohne Zeiger, in 1993, Nomura took part in several group and solo exhibitions in Europe, Tokyo and Asia. Her 2013 photographic book Nude/A Room/Flowers won the Sagamihara New Professionals Award.

In 2015, she represented Japan at the Another Language exhibition at the Rencontres photographiques d’Arles festival. In 2017, she won the New Photographer Award at the Higashikawa International Festival with her photographic book Another Black Darkness. A prolific artist, she has published around twenty photographic books to date, her preferred means of disseminating her work and constantly reinventing the narrative of her images.

Galerie Écho 119
119 rue Vieille du Temple
75003 Paris France


Galerie Wilms Venlo – Julie van der Vaart (1988 The Netherlands / Belgium) (Images 31 )

Julie van der Vaart is a photographic artist born in Maastricht, The Netherlands, and currently living and working in Belgium. She has a Masters of Fine-arts in Photography from the Media, Arts & Design-faculty in Genk, and a further Masters of Research in Art and Design from Sint Lucas Antwerp. She is supported by the Mondriaan Fund, receiving the stipend for established artists, and since 2021 she has been participating in the two-year international Masterclass Reflexions 2.0. Recently publisher Void published her book Blind Spot, bundling her work of the past six years in one volume.

Her most recent serie is ‘Black Cloud’; a project about the fluidity of being and Julie van der Vaart’s experience of depersonalization. The title is taken from Fred Hoyle’s 1957 SciFi novel The Black Cloud, which is about an intelligent, alien entity in the form of a huge cloud of gas. This idea, of a being that has no substantial or solid form, served as inspiration.

“Throughout my life, I experienced moments when I felt that my being was not in this body, not limited by the boundaries of my skin. Where is the self located? Is it in the body, the heart, the mind?

Or is it more fluid, extending beyond the body, like an energetic field? Are we as three-dimensional beings limited in our understanding of reality? And what ís reality? My work revolves around these questions.”

Galerie Wilms Venlo – Lisanne Hoogerwerf (1987 The Netherlands) (images 32 )

Lisanne Hoogerwerf’s photographs show places that seem both fictional and real; they are landscapes that are outside everyday reality, but are made with tangible materials such as wood, sand, paint and cardboard.

For Hoogerwerf, photography is a means of making inner images visible. Her imagination and memories are the inspiration work. The floor of her studio is the stage on which she makes her small-scale landscapes appear and disappear; once a landscape is finished, she carefully records it with her camera, only to tear it down again so that new works can emerge. With playful constructions, she refers to social developments, such as the refugee crisis, climate change and the pandemic. The abandoned landscapes have something grim and dystopian and at the same time something playful and dreamy. Playgrounds, tents, huts and houses are elements that recur regularly in her work. Using lighting and painted backgrounds, she creates a fictional space in which these structures take on new meanings and contradictions such as utopia/dystoption, human/nature, seriousness/playfulness, beauty and drabness come together.

For Unseen, Lisanne will create new work that has not yet been seen anywhere.

Galerie Wilms Venlo – Suzanne Jongmans (1978 The Netherlands) (images 33)

In the work of Suzanne Jongmans, you feel the love for the craftmanshift of the masters of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. Their symbolically infused portraiture forms the framework within which she tells her own story.

A work often arises from a personal issue. About love and loss, finding courage and making choices. The ideas and images that arise in the process gradually deepen her understanding. The materials with which she makes the costumes for her models sometimes come from nature, such as flowers or sheep’s wool, but she also uses pieces of plastic or Styrofoam. By turning them into jewelry or garments, she gives these waste materials a new appreciation.

After taking hundreds of detail shots with a model, a long process of post-processing follows to create the final image. She uses the many photographic layers like the old masters used their paints.

Constantly searching for the balance between the outer and her inner world, she is always concerned with contrasts. Between classic and contemporary, light and dark, life experience and childlike purity, the here and now and the eternal.

The symbolism touches on universal experiences, but is personal at the same time. Thus each work can also be called a self-portrait.

‘She creates a tension and a meeting between the classical and the modern, the constant and the fugitive. Her images radiate an immanence, through the mundane scraps, we glimpse the divine.’ (Karen Van Godtsenhoven, associate curator of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York))

Suzanne Jongmans (Breda, The Netherlands, 1978) is an interdisciplinary artist. She is a seamstress, sculptor, costume designer and photographer. She held her first solo exhibition at the European Economic and Social Committee and a.o. at Stedelijk Museum Schiedam. Her works are bought by Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and the American Embassy. Her commissioned work includes a campaign for Valentino/Moncler and she has been featured in the international press (The Washington Post, on CNN and Die Deutsche Welle).

Galerie Wilms
Nieuwstraat 52
5911 JV Venlo


Galerie Wouter van Leeuwen – Amsterdam – Mark van den Brink (1965 The Netherlands) (images 34 )

Mark van den Brink studied photography at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, where he graduated in 1996. He continued to develop as a freelance photographer, but his autonomous projects form the most important part of his work. His projects originate on his travels at home and abroad. Characteristic of his photographs is the use of a small Minox spy camera, which he occasionally combines with binoculars. The Minox is a widely used spy camera. With its small size (80x27x16mm), it could be easily hidden in clothes, hollow books and suitcases. During the Cold War, intelligence agencies used them to take snapshots of secret documents and maps.

Galerie Wouter van Leeuwen – Amsterdam – Sanlé Sory (1943 Burkina Fasso) (images 35 )

In his Volta Photo studio in the provincial city of Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Fasso photographer Sanlé Sory (b 1943) had numerous Western clothes and props that his clients used to photograph themselves. With a ghetto blaster, on the phone, as a cowboy, with bared torso or with the right sunglasses. The sets also contributed to the portrayal of that mundane dream. Sory’s sets included an aeroplane staircase and a cityscape with street lights, something not ubiquitous outside cities at the time. For Soul of Africa, Wouter van Leeuwen made a new selection based on Sanlé Sory’s negatives.

Galerie Wouter van Leeuwen – Amsterdam – Bryan Schutmaat (1983 US) (images 36 )

Bryan Schutmaat (b 1983, Austin, Texas) first caught the attention of the photography world with his book ‘Grays the Mountain Sends’ (2014). A series of portraits and nature shots of almost forgotten communities in the US Rocky Mountains. A brilliantly produced book, photographed in lush colours, it shows that apart from being a gifted photographer, Schutmaat is also someone who uses the medium effectively to tell a story.

In his new work, ‘Living Dry: West Texas’, Schutmaat focuses the camera on Big Bend National Park, in the lower tip of West Texas, where the Rio Grande river forms the natural border with Mexico. A rugged landscape with deep gorges, high mountains and dry deserts. Location of 500-million-year-old fossils. Home to bears and mountain lions and endangered plants and animals.

Bryan Schutmaat prefers to concentrate on loners living at the interface between wilderness and civilisation. There, he photographs the eternal struggle between man and nature. With his landscape photographs, he portrays the consequences of waste, irresponsible land exploitation and mankind’s disastrous interference with ecology.

Photography as a medium to bring about cultural change. In this sense, Schutmaat fits into the tradition of committed photographers such as Lewis Baltz, Robert Adams, Robert Frank, W. Eugene Smith and Dorothea Lange.

Schutmaat photographs with an unwieldy large-format camera that forces her to work slowly, allowing ample time to establish a bond with those portrayed, resulting in intimate, hushed photographic portraits.

Galerie Wouter van Leeuwen,
Hazenstraat 26,
1016 SP Amsterdam.


John Devos
Correspondent L’Œil de la Photographie/Eye of Photographie


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